This is going to be a compilation post from all three Stepford sisters. When a new baby is born, parents often spend a great deal of time thinking about what traditions and beliefs they wish to instil upon their children. With the anticipated arrival of Syrus, all of us started talking about such things. One interesting topic was Santa: To believe or Not to believe.
We each bring a unique perspective to this topic and believe there is no one right way to go about it. We just wish to share our views so that others who are having a same experience can see how others are going about the Santa issue.
As mentioned in my post about my baby shower, I never believed in Santa. My mom told me the truth about everything, even Santa Claus. She explained all about the idea of Santa Claus, the spirit of giving, and the original St. Nicolas who was very generous to the needy. She told me that other parents honored him by make-believing Santa Claus with their children, so even though I knew the truth, I shouldn't spoil it for anyone else.
Some people I have told think this is sad. I certainly did not and do not think so. I felt so smart and grown up and mature for knowing the truth! I loved it! I never spoiled it for anyone and even remember adults asking me what Santa brought me and grinning knowingly, but telling them what gifts I had received.
I think if the make-believe goes on too long, some children feel disappointed, foolish, and a little annoyed with their parents for letting them believe something untrue. I plan to treat Syrus the way my mother treated me. I will give him the respect of telling him the truth, but still do fun Santa and Christmas activities, and trust him not to use his knowledge to upset anyone else.
I guess I began having suspicions about Santa when I was about 12. I
lived a very sheltered life and my parents were always very committed to
preserving our innocence as children. To this day, my mother still
chants "if you don't believe, you don't receive!" And I am 27 years old.
It's an attempt to maintain the familiar fantasy that we upheld as
children. I remember after moving to Ohio, my brother and I were
exploring the crawl space and we came across a box with a gigantic candy
cane sticking out of it. We never mentioned it to our Mom, for fear of
the "wrath" if we admitted to snooping, but when Christmas morning came
and we saw the same giant candy canes poking out of stockings, we knew.
Even now, my brother and I are both adults, myself
now also a parent, we do not ever discuss the merits of Santa or
question his appearance.
For my own children, the tradition
differs slightly. When Santa visits our home, his gifts are wrapped in
either solid silver or solid gold wrapping and are adorned with tags
declaring the recipient with Santa's signature. Family gifts are wrapped
in muti colored paper. Santa typically handles the 'big ticket' items,
so if my kids want a gaming system or a bicycle, they ask Santa for
As the children grow, I want to adopt the same
attitude my own Mother had, where we preserve the joy and magic of
Christmas even after they have discovered the truth. I feel strongly
that my children should learn the truth on their own time and therefore
will not approach them with it. I read a letter once that I would like
to pass to my children when they begin to question Santa because it
encompasses the true meaning of Christmas.
I did believe in Santa until about Kindergarten. My birthday is on Christmas, so my mom made sure right from the get-go to make it a special day for me so that I would not be cheated out of a birthday just because it fell on a holiday.
The tradition we followed up until I was married and had step-kids (at that point it is ALL about what needs to happen for Christmas for them based on when we get them (beginning of Christmas break through Christmas morning or Christmas afternoon through the rest of break).
We would always celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve. We would start out at my grandparents house and have dinner. Then we would open presents from them. After we opened the presents they got us, my parents would drive home and my grandparents would take my sister and I on a drive to look at all of the Christmas lights.
By the time we would get home from looking at Christmas lights Santa would have already made a special early stop at our house since my mom explained to him my birthday was the next day. We would then open all the rest of our Christmas presents from Santa, other family, and my parents. We would go to sleep Christmas Eve night already playing with our presents. The next day would be all about my birthday. We would have a birthday lunch, open my presents, and have birthday cake.
I never thought anything different of it. The reason I stopped believing in Santa in Kindergarten was that my younger sister had figured it out based on hand writing on tags or something. Rather than my dad lying about it after she asked if Santa was real he told the truth. My dad decided to tell me the truth at that point as well (mostly because he didn't want the older sibling not to know when the younger one already figured it out). My mom wasn't exactly happy that he told us, but I can truthfully say I have no memories of "finding out the truth". My life wasn't ruined and I must have handled the news ok. The memories I do have were ones of believing and typical Christmas joy and bliss.
For my step-children, my husband started something before I ever knew him and I love it. He has always told him that whatever gifts Santa gets he has to pay for. This is great because they realize they aren't just getting an endless value of gifts and that it isn't created out of nowhere. This is also something that helps ease the questions of why some children get very little when others get a lot.